I do not know about the rest of society, but it is a real head scratcher to me as to why people are not out in the streets protesting like they did in the 1960’s.  You might ask what I am talking about and it is this stupid belief that party politics should stand in the way of what is in the best interests of this country.  If these politicians want to get re-elected, then we should be demanding progress on a number of important bills, but instead we have members of Congress that would rather do nothing.  I, for one, am sick and tired and here we go again.

The stock market may be posting record gains, but Washington could be mere days away from a government shutdown – and a few weeks out from a catastrophic default on the national debt.

What do Congress and the president need to do to meet these deadlines?
First, Congress must pass a spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year.  But, the Republican response is to, instead, pass legislation to defund the Affordable Care Act and then address the budget.  If, as expected, the Senate rejects a House-passed CR that defunds Obamacare, then we are again at a stalemate.  On March 23, 2010 the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law and the Republican party has made this their only focus since then.  Whether you like it or not…when is enough going to be enough.  Our collective message to Congress should be let’s correct this economic battle in this country once and for all.

What happens if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill?
There would be a funding shortfall and the executive branch would begin a partial shutdown of federal operations.  Some workers would be furloughed and some agencies would suspend their functions.

What operations would continue even if there was a partial shutdown?
The law allows operations necessary to the safety of human life or protection of property to continue even in the event of a partial shutdown.  In past shutdowns, workers with national security and foreign relations responsibilities – such as CIA and State Department employees – have been exempted from furloughs.

Other exemptions have included programs and employees related to:

  • Inpatient and emergency medical care
  • Air traffic control 
  • Border and coastal patrol
  • Care and guarding of federal prisoners
  • Emergency disaster assistance

If there was a partial shutdown, what operations would likely be stopped?
Most of the decisions about this would be left to the executive branch. But most likely:

  • New patients wouldn’t be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health; phone calls to NIH about illness would go unanswered.
  • The Centers for Disease Control would stop monitoring diseases.
  • Testing and recruitment of federal law enforcement officials would cease.
  • National parks, museums and monuments would close.
  • Most U.S. applications for passports would go unprocessed.
  • Services for U.S. veterans would be curtailed.

What’s the debt limit and when is the deadline for that?
Separate from the spending bill impasse is the fight over the debt limit. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October.  The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion.

What would happen if the debt limit were reached?
At that point, the Treasury would be left to fund the government with only the cash we have on hand.  Money from tax payments would still be coming in to the Treasury, but it would not be enough to pay each day’s bills.  While some bills to vendors and others could be paid, they’d be paid late.  Investors holding Treasury securities might not get prompt re-payment of their principal when their bonds matured.  That in turn would cause a downgrading of U.S. Treasury securities by bonds rating agencies.  According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15.  It estimated that about a third of the funds owed for the period would go unpaid.

Could the Treasury juggle bill payments, paying some vendors and beneficiaries but not others?
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Treasury “might attempt to prioritize some types of payments over others,” but “this option may not be possible to implement using Treasury’s current financial systems. It would involve sorting and choosing from nearly 100 million monthly payments.”

What stands in the way of Congress increasing the debt limit?
There are two big roadblocks. First, Republicans wants additional spending cuts in return for increasing the borrowing limit, while Democrats oppose additional spending cuts, if not paired with tax increases.  Second, Republicans will try to attach a provision to the debt ceiling increase that would delay Obamacare provisions.  Democrats are not likely to accept this.

What effect might a partial shutdown and a failure to raise the borrowing limit have on the economy?
Expect major losses on Wall Street and a major downturn in the economy of this country.

What would I like to see happen?

Outside our country:

Stop all foreign aid to all countries and tell them there will be no more aid coming.

Bring all our US troops home and close all military installations outside our borders.

We will stop all involvement with any other country in their affairs.

We will live within our means economically.

All trade agreements will be fair and equitable.

We tell China to keep their inferior goods and we are done trading anything with them.  Also, about the question of indebtedness to China…tough toenails.

As far as this country:

Make all energy companies have standardized pricing, so that we all pay the same price no matter where you live.

All taxes are a flat 10 % for everyone and no tax exemptions.

All people who are not in this country legally must leave in 90 days and our troops from overseas will patrol and secure our southern border.  No more visas will be issued for foreigners to be in this country for more than a short visit.

Eliminate all welfare for all able-bodied people and those people on assistance must be doing public works to get these monthly benefits.

Eliminate all benefits and insurances for all members of Congress, eliminate the laws that make it legal to benefit financially from serving in Congress, eliminate the “Party” Politics and replace it with “American” politics, and require a 90 day window to agree upon all bills that deal with our national economy.

Finally, a message to all members of Congress…get your fingers out of your ass and fix the issues or you will not have to worry about any re-election!

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